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Midway has done an excellent job with this title. It is a lot of fun to play, and even fun to watch. The animation is exceptional and the game looks amazing.
XboxGame Over Online
Overall, though, Midway Sports has definitely hit a home run with their latest version of Slugfest. With zany characters, extreme action, and a solid baseball background, this is the definite break that casual fans of the sport can totally root for. Plus, the easy to learn gameplay and nature of onscreen action could make this a buddy game favorite, most especially with large groups of friends. Grab a mitt, a bat and some cleats, because you should definitely get down and dirty with Slugfest 20-04.
Midway Sports has once again given us a great alternative to the sim-heavy baseball games of its competitors. With great arcade gameplay, good graphics and a killer audio package, Slugfest 20-04 is the baseball game to get if you aren’t into sims.
PlayStation 2Game Over Online
Midway Sports has been known for pushing the sports envelope in broad directions. After all, this is the company that introduced smoking slam dunks in NBA Jam that would make Daryl Dawkins jealous. The same designer whose bodyslams in NFL Blitz would make Jack Lambert wince. Well, the extreme sensibilities taken to these previous titles have been branched out to America’s favorite pastime: baseball. That’s right, we’re not talking about a leisurely summer afternoon watching fungoes launched into outfields. We’re talking Round 3 of Mike Piazza Vs. Guillermo Mota, just without the running away, glove throwing, missed punches or restraints. Get your mound charges ready, cuz it’s time for MLB Slugfest 20-04!
There are certain sports where you can just forget the rules and regulations for a more hardcore and fast-paced game and although we usually see this kind of thing in basketball, seldom is it seen in the game of baseball. Imagine slamming your fist into the first baseman and knocking the ball out of his hand just so you can go steal second base. Imagine great pitching being rewarded by having your next pitches practically break the sound barrier. This is what you’ll find in MLB Slugfest 20-04, one of the most interesting takes on the game of baseball ever.
That’s not to say that 20-04 isn’t a unique and fun take on baseball, because it is and even non sports fans who are critical of baseball and their games as being slow paced will find plenty to enjoy here as this game pretty much takes all the traditional rules of fair play and throws them right out the window. Fielders punch out runners, runners slide into other players forcing them to drop the ball at every turn and punch them in order to distract them – it’s insanity at its finest and its pulled off to a genuinely excellent degree leaving enough room for those who prefer traditional baseball and its mechanics to also find some interesting details added to this title that naturally fit.
However, it's no secret that the Xbox looks the best of the bunch. The PS2 shows a little bit of slowdown during big animations combined with special visual effects (fire, fancy text), and the GameCube's lag looked a bit worse; things move in slow-motion when a runner tries to steal second. Neither problem popped up on the Xbox.
On its own merits, Slugfest is a fine game of baseball on all three platforms, and any baseball fan who hasn't played it yet should definitely check it out, keeping in mind that Slugfest doesn't take itself seriously. However, MLB Slugfest 2004's impact is diminished a bit by the fact that last year's game is still relatively recent history. A few more additions, like online play, would have definitely helped tip the scales. Owners of last year's game should probably rent this one to see if the additions are meaningful enough to warrant a second purchase.
As stated earlier, Slugfest will always be a better two-player experience. The single player still does not have the depth of AI to contend with some of the more sim-style titles on the market. The addition of Create-a-Team is a noble idea, but it would have needed better implementation to be a real draw. That's not to say there isn't a place for this game in your library. It's hollerin' fun if you have a group of people gathered, and can be cool solo if you stick to the Challenge Mode.
Slugfest 20-04 is a baseball game for people who don’t like baseball. The simplicity and novelty of Slugfest are its strengths, but its lack of depth is a glaring weakness. MLB Slugfest 20-04 is rated E for everyone with elements of comic mischief and violence.
Like the other Midway Sports titles, MLB SlugFest 20-04 puts an action spin on the athleticism, adding flaming power-ups, some slapstick antics, and a bit of violence to the national pastime. New elements this year include more accurate player animations, improved player statistics, a create-a-team function (but no create-a-player), and a home-run derby. The addition of pinch hitters, player trades, and more players per team (20, versus last year’s 12) only enhances the core gameplay.
As stated earlier, Slugfest will always be a better two-player experience. The single player still does not have the depth of AI to contend with some of the more sim-style titles on the market. The addition of Create-A-Team is a noble idea, but it would have needed better implementation to be a real draw. That's not to say that there isn't a place for this game in your library. It's hollerin' fun if you have a group of people gathered and can be cool solo if you stick to the Challenge Mode.
The beauty of Slugfest is that it's pretty easy to pick up and play. The controls are intuitive, and the pitching and batting interfaces work well. Once you've mastered the timing of things, like the swing of the bat and the hard slides and tags, it's easy to get hooked. All in all, the game has more in common with the great 8- and 16-bit baseball games of old than with today's complex simulation-style affairs. Players who lost touch with baseball games when they went 3D on the PlayStation may find that Slugfest is exactly what they've been missing.
PlayStation 2GamePro (US)
Midway's power-packed take on America's game was, well, a home run last year, so the '04 edition of SlugFest is only natural. This year's model packs in several enhancements that, frankly, should have been in the original game but will make fans happy nonetheless.
MLB Slugfest 20-03 came out of the gate late last year, arriving in June when many baseball titles had shipped in March. Even with its late arrival, it captured the fancy of baseball fans and trash talkers the world over, finishing as the number one selling baseball game of last year (although there are those who refute this claim). Fast forward nine months, and Midway is up to bat again, with this year's addition, MLB Slugfest 20-04.
MLB Slugfest 2004 is Midway's second entry in the arcade-style baseball field and a predictably improved follow-up to last year's installment. The game retains all the gameplay aspects that made the original a success and adds a handful of new things in an attempt at improvement. The additions are noticeable, but it may still be tough for owners of last year's game to justify a purchase, considering that it hasn't even been a year since the release of MLB Slugfest 2003.
Those who've already experienced last season's MLB SlugFest may have already surmised that this isn't a simulation. Midway is shooting for their usual with their latest outing. Like NFL Blitz, the series transcends any preconceived notions, appealing to those who appreciate not its thematic trappings, but rather core values: A penchant for whiz-bang special effects and senseless violence. Given this caveat, and the numerous slight enhancements made since when last the series debuted, well … by all means, grab the foam fingers and 16oz Budweisers … it's time to play ball!
Despite longevity issues, MLB SlugFest 20-04 comes together extremely well as a whole. While almost identical on the GameCube to its PlayStation 2 cousin, both versions step up to the plate and deliver a dazzling dose of high-energy sporting. For a limited, but still significant amount of time, you'll get a lot of pleasure out of the product, even if returning fans will find it's simply a minor enhancement over the previous edition. In its second iteration, the series has added needed polish and poise … it'll definitely be making a run for the pennant next season.
PlayStation 2PSX Extreme
If the current crop of games does nothing but bore you and leave you yearning for games like R.B.I Baseball, then Slugfest may be right up your alley. It's a fun game to play, but just doesn't have enough depth to warrant a $50 price tag, especially if you're a solo gamer.
PlayStation 2Game Revolution
Spring has sprung and it's time to play ball. It seems like only yesterday that Bonds smashed #600, Tejada won the AL MVP and the Angels won the series with that stupid monkey in the stands. Oh well, I'm just happy I didn't have to put up with that annoying chop chant. C'mon people, that thing's been stale for years now.
Game Boy AdvanceGameZone
This is a title that could have been much better, but really cannot compare with either its other console platform counterparts, nor with some other GBA baseball games in terms of gameplay options. It looks good and plays well, and it a good, quick arcade-like experience. Fans who want a little more depth, will do well to find a pinch-hitter.
PlayStation 2Game Informer Magazine
Not only are old mistakes revisited in 2004, but the batting and fielding controls seem to have gotten worse. The hitting interface has become a high-end guessing game, with strikes and balls called in almost random fashion, and fielding is difficult even in the best of circumstances. Sure, hearing Jimmy Shorts make funny comments is entertaining, but the baseball that comes along with it is poor enough that I don’t think it’s worth suffering through. I know it’s supposed to be an arcade game, but you’ve got to meet us halfway, fellas. Slugfest is a good game for people who want to either A) play a violent sports game for 20 minutes, or B) blow off some baseball-related steam. Next.
Although all but interchangeable with its GameCube and PlayStation 2 brethren, MLB SlugFest 20-04 remains a winner on all platforms. Those who purchase the Xbox version are in for a slight visual boost, but the same solid (if limited) play experience. Even so, few hobbyists would complain, considering that across the board, while audiences aren't getting a massive retooling of the series, they are receiving a needed upgrade to an already formidable franchise. As off-the-wall arcade sports spoofs go, this is still king of the hill ... or is that mound?
Game Boy AdvancePGNx Media
MLB Slugfest 20-04 for the consoles is a god-send baseball game. Slugfest 04 for the GBA tries to capture the fun out of its big brother, but fails in the process. From the jump to the handheld many things were lost since the gameplay is extremely lacking.
Game Boy AdvanceAll Game Guide
Still, games in MLB SlugFest are not as fun as those in the console versions since the action is watered down. The fielding view is inadequate, pitching is slow and largely ineffective, and options are extremely limited. There's not even a full lineup of stadiums to choose from (only six), and passwords are used to save progress rather than battery backup -- so forget about tracking statistics. Yet the most irritating aspect is the lack of two-player support, which is inexcusable for a baseball game released in 2003. MLB SlugFest is a passable port with big, colorful players, crisp sound, and offensive-minded play, making each game a high-scoring affair. A poor view on defense, a dull computer opponent, and almost non-existent options undermine what could have been one of the better baseball titles on the system.
Game Boy AdvanceIGN
SlugFest on the Game Boy Advance isn't nearly as bad as Midway's attempts at the Blitz series on the handheld, but there have been so many corners cut in features that this baseball title just isn't very fun to play. The developer worked to get the looks and sounds of the console version on the GBA, but they didn't capture the gameplay. Even though the intention is to present a more action-packed, over-the-top baseball game, the team just didn't succeed. SlugFest 2004 can't compete with the other portable baseball games, both past and present.
Game Boy AdvanceGameSpot
Overall, MLB Slugfest 2004 on the GBA is a major disappointment. It lacks the unpredictability and mayhem of the console versions, as well as most of the features that you'd expect to find in a traditional baseball game.